Need for Alternate Modes of Transport
The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has identified the ill effects of a large vehicular population to include increased traffic, highly congested roads, incessant traffic jams and high air pollution. In order to address the issues faced, it has put together a comprehensive policy to promote alternate modes of transport which inter alia includes carpooling, public transportation, walking and cycling. It also implores all stakeholders to recognize the problem and contribute collectively by adopting alternate means of transport to help bring about change in the transportation habits of New Zealanders so as to benefit the country as a whole.
In line with its collective responsibility appeal, NZTA has outlined a policy for helping people who adopt carpooling as a means of transport. It offers dedicated lanes known as priority lanes for people who travel in cars with multiple passengers. This enables them to drive on express-ways, motorways and arterial roads which are less congested than non-designated roads which have single occupancy cars and more congestion.
Transit Lanes – T2 and T3 Lanes
Transit lanes allow passenger service vehicles along with other class of vehicles such as cycles, mopeds and motorcycles. In order to encourage carpooling, transit lanes allow motor vehicles are carrying two or more passengers to ply on them. Generally, in New Zealand, T2 lanes allow passenger vehicles with 2 or more people in them. Similarly, T3 lanes allow passenger vehicles with 3 or more people in them. Typically, these lanes operate at specified times of the day when traffic is high on motorways, arterial roads and expressways.
Carpooling vehicles can also take advantage of on-ramp priority lanes where they can bypass ramp signals.
All priority lanes display appropriate sign-posts on the road surface for easy identification and use.
In order to ensure proper implementation, the authorities monitor the movement of vehicles on these priority lanes by including them in regular motorway patrols. Skipping queues constitutes an infringement and drivers face the consequences.
Thus, the authorities encourage people to adopt carpooling so as to achieve the objectives of reducing congestion, traffic jams and air pollution. In the bargain, carpoolers benefit by being able to save on commute time as they can travel at much higher speeds on priority lanes because of lesser traffic and congestion.